US Senate accepts budget with almost US$45 billion for Ukraine and allies.

The United States Senate [the upper chamber of the Congress, the American parliament] accepted the bill on the government funding of US$1.7 trillion by a vast majority of votes. This budget includes almost US$45 billion to support Ukraine and Washington’s allies.

Sixty-eight senators voted in favor of this bill, and 29 were against it. Lindsey Graham, the senior US senator from the Republican Party, proposed an amendment to the bill which would allow the seizing of assets from Russian oligarchs and transferring them to Ukraine; it was accepted and added to the document.

Later this week, the US Congress plans to approve the budget of the USA for next year, which contains the "Act on additional allocation for Ukraine", which includes almost $45 billion.

Key items of expenditure include up to $14.5 billion for transferring possessions from US military storage to Ukraine by the President’s decision, $9 billion for purchasing military aid for Ukraine, and $13.37 billion of financial assistance.

These funds will be provided in addition to the record-breaking sum of $858 billion of defense expenditures of this year.

From here, the bill needs to be approved by the House of Representatives [the lower chamber of Congress] and then signed by the US President, Joe Biden, for it to be put into effect. This has to be done by Friday. Otherwise, there will be a shutdown in the American government - a temporary termination of work due to the absence of an agreed budget.

Shmyhal told whether evacuation from big cities would be conducted in case of a total blackout.

Ukrainian authorities do not plan to evacuate residents of major cities to rural areas in case of a blackout.

Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, said:"No. It is possible to evacuate, for instance, the residents of the city of Kherson to another region where there are conditions for their resettlement. In the case of a massive blackout, everything would be different. If the blackout affects the whole country, where should the people be evacuated to then? The whole country would be in condition of a humanitarian disaster.

We do realize what would be going on. Some people would move to the nearest rural settlements. Some would remain in the cities and are already making necessary preparations, including using those 500 thousand power generators I talked about (510.3 thousand power generators, mostly of low capacity, which have been supplied to Ukraine since the beginning of the year – ed.). Some people would shelter at Invincibility Сentres. Some others would move abroad."

Russians attack Kharkiv.

Russian troops probably launched a missile attack on Kharkiv on Thursday.

Oleh Syniehubov, Head of Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, reported :

"Now we actually have a live attack on the city of Kharkiv. It was most likely a missile strike; we will find out. The units of the State Emergency Service will be sent to the scene to deal with the aftermath.

…An air-raid siren is sounding now, and there are attacks on the city of Kharkiv."

Syniehubov noted that he planned to report on the situation on air and say that no attacks on Kharkiv were recorded, "but at the moment, it is no longer the case".